Research Article

Perceived noise in surgical wards and an intensive care area: an objective analysis.

Br Med J 1977; 2 doi: (Published 10 December 1977) Cite this as: Br Med J 1977;2:1503
  1. S Bentley,
  2. F Murphy,
  3. H Dudley


    An investigation of noise levels in a hospital ward, a cubicle off the ward, and an intensive therapy unit (ITU) showed that the noise levels in all three areas were higher than internationally recommended levels at all times of day. Loud noises above 70 dB(A) were common in all areas but especially the ITU. The noise pollution levels reached annoying values during the day in the ward and cubicle and during both the day and the night in the ITU. Equipment and conversations among the staff were the main causes of noise in the ITU. These noisy environments are unlikely to help patients recover. Although measures designed to eliminate noisy surfaces will help, making staff aware of the noise they create and the effects it has may be much more effective in reducing noise pollution.